Airport Security Trends And Holiday Travel


Following the "busiest summer ever," the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is predicting record-breaking numbers of passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints this holiday season. This means there are increased security concerns in and around airports that warrant attention. Insite has long recommended that travelers expedite their way through transit hubs, including airports, as quickly as possible upon arrival and departure. Airport areas such as ticketing and baggage check-in are outside of security checkpoints and historically offer attractive targets for both terrorists and petty criminals on the lookout for naive passengers.

For international travelers, there are some trends that suggest airports are becoming a focal point of leverage and disruption for protesters. Hong Kong International Airport has experienced significant turmoil that has included violence in the terminal and disruption to airport transit. Last month, travelers at Chile’s largest airport experienced massive cancellations due to riots being held over hikes in public transportation fares. We have also seen demonstrators targeting routes to and from the airport by creating human-chains or man-made obstacles and roadblocks. This type of disruption significantly hinders ground transportation and the ability of passengers to safely travel between destinations, as well as hampering routine logistics operations required for the airports to function effectively.

There are also unknown variables that increase the likelihood of a chaotic airport experience therefore heighten the need for situational awareness and a security mindset. The recent lock-down at the Richmond, VA airport was due to a possible security breach and earlier this month at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a crew member accidentally sent a hostage-taking alert, which shutdown the entire airport.

Recommended Actions for Airport Safety:

  • Coordinate for a local driver and vehicle to and from the airport

  • Use airport greeting services that expedite entry through security and customs upon arrival

  • Monitor local information sources through twitter, etc.

  • Download all airline apps and have boarding passes downloaded

  • Reserve access to airport lounges and clubs

  • Carry-on luggage if possible, bring extra supplies of medications, water and a few snacks

  • Extend hotel reservation to cover stays impacted by disruptions

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